Christian Bale regrets Terminator Salvation

You know that glorious, righteous feeling you get when you prove your doubters wrong and accomplish something they never thought you could achieve? Christian Bale knows that feeling well, and in a recent interview, he reveals that he was striving for it when he took the role of John Connor in 2009’s ill-fated Terminator Salvation…but things didn’t quite turn out the way he hoped.

Read his full quote, and learn why Christian Bale regrets Terminator Salvation nearly a decade later.

In a recent episode of the Happy Sad Confused podcast (via Indiewire), Bale was asked what made him take the role of resistance leader John Connor in McG’s Terminator Salvation, and his response revealed information I’d never heard before – that he’d turned the movie down three times before he said yes, and that he ultimately took the gig to silence his haters:

“I said ‘no’ three times. I thought that the franchise – I went, ‘Nah, there’s no story there.’ I’d seen the first one and enjoyed that back in England, I’d been to the movies and seen the second one. It was an unfortunate series of events involving the Writers Strike, involving Jonah Nolan, who was able to come on and really start to write a wonderful script and then got called away for a prior commitment that he had. It’s a great thorn in my side, because I wish we could have reinvigorated that, and unfortunately during production you could tell that wasn’t happening. It’s a great shame.

There’s also a perverse side to me where, people were telling me there’s no way on God’s Earth that I should take that role, and I was thinking the same thing. But when people started verbalizing that to me, I started to go, ‘Oh, really? All right. Well, watch this then.’ So there was a little bit of that involved in the choice, too.”

I had forgotten that Jonathan Nolan was involved with that film’s script back then. I can totally see how Bale – who had already worked with the writer on The Prestige and The Dark Knight at that point – would trust that Nolan could come up with a take on the Terminator world that would be worth exploring. The whole “taking the role out of spite” thing, on the other hand, is a little less defensible…especially considering just how bad the final film ended up being. It’s almost like someone making an impassioned speech about how they’ll never slip on a banana peel, only for them to immediately slip on a banana peel and tumble off the side of the stage.

As for Bale’s infamous rant from that movie’s set that went viral (to this day, I still evoke his “Oh, good for you” line any time I need a response that’s just dripping with sarcasm), the actor calls that “a very unusual occasion” and a “great learning lesson for me: no matter how much you lose yourself in a scene, you do not allow yourself to behave that way.” In fact, he says people are still making fun of him about it, and he actually likes it. “It’s funny,” he says. Well, at least he can look back on it and laugh, because he certainly didn’t sound like he had much of a sense of humor in the heat of the moment.

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